Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My Favorite Picture Books: Miss Moore Thought Otherwise

by Jan Pinborough, illustrated by Debby Atwell

This book is a biography of an important librarian in the early 1900s, Anne Carroll Moore, who was instrumental in changing how libraries served children. She also wielded her pen to write reviews of children's books, influencing not only what libraries purchased and provided for children, but what authors wrote and publishers published. Though she is not as well known as many other people in history, any child who can visit a lovely library can easily understand how her work directly influences his or her life today.

Miss Moore was not afraid to go against the common thoughts of her day, willing to "think otherwise" and act on it, but I feel like this is a nice quiet sort of revolt. I imagine her tilting her head to the side, considering her options, and then going ahead with her crazy ideas of comfy rooms, books children could check out, reading aloud to children, and providing puppets and other programs. She lived at a time when women were being beaten for trying to organize in labor unions and jailed for demanding the right to vote, but she also managed to change the world. She found something she loved and used her gifts to bring that love to as many children as possible.

The illustrations are absolutely lovely, so bright and colorful. My favorite illustration shows Miss Moore surrounded by joyous rays of light as she surveys New York City, which is displayed in all its beautiful glory. They show some of the excitement and giddiness of that era when anything seemed possible.

I have no doubt Miss Moore would have delighted to add this book to her library's collection.


  1. Thank you for this book suggestion! I just finished reading a book called "Minders of Make Believe" by Leonard S. Marcus - it is a history of children's literature in our country. Anne Carroll Moore figures prominently in this book. You might enjoy it!


  2. Oh, Kelly, thank you for the recommendation!


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